c3ns0rsh1p r0undup

Some recent censorship stories intrigue mostly for what they say about the type of environment someone or some group hopes to create (see added boldface below). Particularly if that environment is going to be touted as some inevitable, be-all-and-end-all arena where future art will be forced to operate. Publishing in a realm of random, inexplicable censorship will create strange wrinkles or ripples in discourse.

1. Low-wage Facebook contractor leaks secret censorship list:

The list’s disclosure by gossip blog Gawker marks the first time that the public has been given a glimpse at the inner-workings of the planet’s largest social network...
The list also shines a light on Facebook’s darker underbelly: how it uses third-world laborers to police first-world content.

2. From the original Gawker story:

Facebook has fashioned itself the clean, well-lit alternative to the scary open Internet for both users and advertisers, thanks to the work of a small army of human content moderators...

3. So we're not always picking on Facebook, Reddit has censored blog posts from the reputable, outspoken Big Picture blog (whose author now writes for the Washington Post):

There are certainly also more open-minded moderators [than davidreiss666 and Maxion] at Reddit. But a couple of censors can squash discussion on entire topics.

Smaller operators (say, Word Press blogs on Dreamhost) don't have to worry too much about low-wage moderators on a post-by-post basis but everything you put out there is going to be filtered and monitored by somebody. So it becomes tempting to self-censor and speak in code to the few people you know are reading and will get it. This code, whether internally or externally imposed, becomes "part of the art."

recent music listening

A listicle!

Erik Satie - score for "Entr'acte Cinematographique," Rene Clair's film that ran between the two acts of the Relâche ballet. The film music is better than the ballet music; it's very contemporary-sounding in its use of loop-like compositional fragments that could be cut, stretched or repeated to accommodate the action onscreen. Alternately bombastic, comical, hypnotic/seductive, mock-elegiac, these fragments could be arranged like furniture (which is how Satie often described his music).

Zomby, Dedication. Just listening to this for the first time tonight, and was surprised by the Satie-like piano composition "Basquiat" plunked in among the repurposed club bits. Lots of one and two minute songs - yeah.

Ennio Morricone's score for the Mario Bava film Danger: Diabolik. A completely nutty, echt-1960s romp with surf guitar, Yé-yé vocals, hammond organ tone wheel freakouts, and eerie strings. This music leaps out of the speakers, grabs you by the neck and chokes you. You can't unhear it and you can't get it out of your mind. Brilliant.

4Hero, In Rough Territory and Tek 9, The Early Plates. This is the same artist team recording under two names, a couple of years apart. In Rough Territory captures the moment when Manchester Bleep'n'Bass was starting to become Jungle/DnB, tipped off by a song called "The Last Ever Bleep Track (Used to Death)." My favorite song is "Mad Dogs (Feeding Propaganda)," with its magnetic, layered sample of a voice over tinkling piano keys that reveals more of itself as the song progresses. Tek 9's "You Got to Slow Down (Original Mix)" has those great pads, Rhodes stabs, and meaty breakbeats of classic drum and bass (i.e., no heavy drilling yet).

"Kick Echoes 2"

"Kick Echoes 2" [3.9 MB .mp3]

The Doepfer A-112 sampler module has a delay effect and it's literally that. An incoming sound is sampled, put in a ROM slot and played...once. How soon after the original sound comes in can be set by a knob. To get feedback (where the delay is mixed with the original sound and/or multiple repetitions of the sound) you have to use a separate mixer. In any case, once the feedback starts you can mess with it until it becomes staccato white noise with very little resemblance to the original sound. For this track I set the repeats for infinite, let it run, and came back three times to capture what the output was doing. The pitch and timbre were both slowly changing but the change is more noticeable when you leave for awhile and check back in. Each captured increment here differs from its predecessor.

The other thing I was doing was adding pitch and filtering steps to the repeats in real time via MIDI-triggered control voltage changes. So the staccato white noise can be made to play simple tunes. Some additional percussion is added via multi-tracking.

Musically this is kind of "no wave."